An enactment of that fateful reading
by Pauli Hubbard
We sat huddled together under a makeshift tent, furtively looking over our shoulders in fear for our existence. We were the prisoners of Nebuchadnezzar; dragged here from our beloved Jerusalem and made to live as the despised by the people of Babylon. Our priest had received a message from Jeremiah so a meeting was called. His face turned whiter than a Babylonian linen as he silently read through the letter. At times he stopped to wipe the tears from his eyes. We knew something was up and we already could feel the bile rise in our throats.
He stood and with much emotion read these words:
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
A deep moan filled the air from a depth we had not known we possessed. So many phrases flooded my mind... build houses and live in them... take wives for your sons... give daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters. But the real clincher came in that last sentence.
“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
I remember that day of disbelief. It has taken me many painful days, months and years to fully understand my LORDʼs watchful care. His ways were not my ways and yet, and yet... they have become my hope.